About blood and marrow transplants

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Learn about blood and marrow transplants (BMT), the reasons for BMT, how the marrow and immune system work, and the BMT health-care team.

Key points

  • Each year in Canada, approximately 200 children undergo a blood and marrow transplant.
  • There are two types of BMT, allogeneic stem cell transplant and autologous stem cell transplant.

Learning that your child needs a blood and marrow transplant (BMT) is distressing. Along with dealing with your child’s illness and treatment, you may feel overwhelmed with the complex information you need to learn over a short period of time. For example, you want to understand how the transplant works, the types of medicines your child has to take, and the various medical procedures involved. For most families, coping with a child’s disease and treatment will be the most challenging experience they have to face.

Each year, close to 200 children undergo a BMT in Canada. As procedures and ability to find matching donors improve, transplants are becoming a better treatment option for more and more people. Many will survive and continue to live long and healthy lives.

There are two types of BMT:

  • Allogeneic stem cells transplants: In this type of transplant, your child receives stem cells from a donor. In many cases, the donor is often a related family member, such as a sibling.
  • Autologous stem cell transplant: In this transplant, your child donates their own blood stem cells.

This section of the BMT resource centre will help explain how the bone marrow and immune system works, reasons for a BMT and where doctors obtain blood stem cells for the transplant. We also introduce the members of your child’s BMT health-care team. Together, they will be working hard to give your child the best possible care.

Last updated: February 12th 2010